Fortifying Main Street: The Economic Benefit of Public Pension Dollars in Rural America


As many small towns and rural communities across America face shrinking populations and growing economic challenges, a new report finds that a positive economic contributor to these communities is the flow of benefit dollars from public pension plans. In 2018, public pension benefit dollars represented between one and three percent of GDP on average in the 2,922 counties in the 43 states studied.

These findings are detailed in a new study released by the National Institute on Retirement Security, Fortifying Main Street:  The Economic Benefit of Public Pension Dollars in Small Towns and Rural America. The report is authored by Dan Doonan and Tyler Bond from NIRS and Nathan Chobo from Linea Solutions.    

The research illustrates the impact of benefit dollars from public pension plans according to several different measures: as a percentage of GDP by county; as a percentage of total personal income by county; and by categorizing counties as metropolitan, small town (micropolitan), or rural. This study builds on a previous collaboration between NIRS and Linea Solutions, adding significantly more states and examining data in 43 states from a majority of public pension plans in the states. 

You can download the report here.

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